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South African celebrities speak out on the plight of depression

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Following the death of UCT health dean, Bongani Mayosi, local celebrities have shared their thoughts on depression and have also expressed their heartfelt condolences to the family.

Local celebrities are speaking out on the plight of depression following the passing of Professor Bongani Mayosi, who was the Dean of Health Sciences at UCT. Mayosi’s family has confirmed that the cardiologist did indeed take his own life.

“Bongani died on the morning of 27 July 2018. In the last two years he has battled with depression and on that day took the desperate decision to end his life,” says a family member.

Local songbird Simphiwe Dana commented:

“The reason I talk about my depression is because silence kills. Depression flourishes in silence. When you name and talk about it you start to separate yourself from it.”

Dana spoke out about her lifelong battle with depression ahead of her annual concert performance at The Lyric in October 2017. She continues to say that she now shares her story in case it can help others and encourage them to seek help.

Other celebrities that have shared their thoughts on the matter include Khaya Dlanga, Siv Ngesi and Zwai Bala. Bala shared a heartfelt story on his history with Mayosi on an Instagram post.

Depression is increasing globally and is expected to be the second most common reason for occupational disability by 2020. It has been reported that approximately one third of South Africans suffer from some form of mental illness and more than 17 million people in South Africa are dealing with depression, substance abuse, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Medical practitioners have also expressed their condolences and regard this as a great loss as last year’s statistics showed a shortage of cardiologists in South Africa, with only 175 active and registered in the country.

Mayosi was regarded as one of the world’s top cardiology researchers for his discovery of the genetic mutation that causes heart failure and was the recipient of the country’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe, in 2009.

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